Wednesday, September 4, 2013

When they Walk Away

The Comment:
When friends that followed Christ suddenly stop. They stop because they just want to be friends with the people they used to hang out with. They stop their relationship with Christ to have "fun" without feeling bad about it. They stop following Christ so her friends won't feel judged. Then they start questioning God. Was there walk with Him real? Is He real? It is like they traded a diamond for a McDonalds happy meal toy.
Well, I do love McDonald's (yes, you can judge me)... 

But, I digress... 
This is a good thing to bring up. It's something I think we all kind of wonder about at various points in our life. What are we even supposed to think when our Christian friends suddenly seem to care less about following Jesus? What are we supposed to do when they seem to transform overnight...wearing clothes we barely recognize, talking crudely and doing all sorts of things they never would have condoned a few weeks earlier? 

It's tricky.
And, unfortunately, I think all too often we handle the situation with judgement and condemnation. I think too often we forget that we don't know their whole story. Too often we think that if we don't call them out, if we don't tell them how wrong they are, if we don't remind them of the things that said they used to believe that we will somehow be in trouble for it. Too often we assume responsibility for their soul and too often we lack love as we approach the situation (and if we don't actually lack love, the way we react may give the impression that we don't love them). But, sometimes we need to say something.

How do you know when to speak up and when to stay silent?
I don't think there's a formula for it.
But I do believe that everything must be done in love.
And I think we need to keep in mind how much Jesus still loves them, even when they seem to have wandered off the beaten path. I think we need to really think about what His response would look like...I think we need to look at what His response was to those who hung Him on the cross.

I think we need to remember that we, ourselves, are also not perfect. While our actions may not be a blatant disregard for Jesus, there are many things throughout the day that I think or say that probably aren't up to 'par' with what someone who loves Jesus is 'supposed' to do/think/say.

So I guess there are just some things to consider before we go around throwing stones at everyone else.
  • Does your friend know you truly love them no matter what? Do they know that if you were to ask them about what's going on with them that you're asking out of genuine concern and not judgement or condemnation? 
  • Do you trust the Lord with them? Do you trust that He's in control, that He's taking care of it...and that He loves them more than you ever can? 
  • Do you remember the Lord's grace... always abounding, never-ending...even when He is crucified, even when His children rebel and turn their face away? Do you remember that He still takes us all back, no matter how often we run? 
I don't think we can know the authenticity of someone else's walk with the Lord. People are great at faking it sometimes. But... I don't think we need to worry about it or question it. I think we just do what we are called to do: Love the Lord your God will all your heart... and love your neighbor as yourself. You may not understand their actions and you may not approve of them, but they may need your friendship now more than ever. 

Remember that right now, no matter how bad it might seem... that this is just a short scene in their story. We don't know what happens at the end. And, honestly, you may never know what happens here on earth. 

Rest assured in the hope that we have. 
And don't lose hope. Beg to have it during the moments you feel most discouraged by people abandoning their faith. 

In the meantime? 
Love them well.

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